Duncan Melville, chief economist at Learning and Work Institute, commented:
There’s a sense of deja vu in today’s numbers, just as in June, they show in the three months from March to May 2019, a modest rise in employment, a small decline in unemployment, and a rise in economic inactivity as workers leave the labour market. Worryingly, this quarterly rise in economic inactivity has increased from 32,000 for February to April 2019 to 83,000 for March to May 2019. This supports our contention that the labour market continues to slow down and lose momentum. The continuing fall in vacancy levels in the April to June quarter, which have now been falling for five consecutive months, also point to a slowing labour market.
Paul Bivand, associate director for statistics and analysis at Learning and Work Institute's said:
In this briefing, we have dropped most of the analysis of Jobseeker’s Allowance as new claims for JSA are now only for 'new-style' contribution-related benefit. This makes comparisons difficult. We have so far kept in the briefing figures for long-term JSA unemployed as the Universal Credit figures do not yet cover durations within each work conditionality group. These figures remain useful for over-25s, but are less so for under 25s.
Chart 12: Employment rate in the UK
The employment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the quarter, to 76.0%.
Chart 6: Young people not in employment, full-time education or training
The number of out of work young people who are not in full-time education (949,000) has risen in the past quarter by 33,000, or 3.6%. The rise was largely among the inactive, with the number of unemployed young people not in full-time education or training also rising, but at a lower rate.
Chart 15: Employment rate quarterly change in regions – March to May 2019
One bright spot in today’s numbers is the position of Northern Ireland. The employment rate in Northern Ireland has reached a record high of 71.7% and has increased strongly in the last year by 1.7 percentage points, inactivity has fallen substantially in the last year, and the unemployment rate is just 3.2%.